History of Georgia

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The history of Georgia encompasses developments in the territory of the Republic of Georgia and historical Georgian empires from prehistory to the present day. It has been based on written sources since the Middle Ages, earlier periods are mainly known from archaeological finds.

Georgian icon of Saint George


Stone age

The oldest human remains ( Homo erectus ) from Georgia come from Dmanisi .

The oldest settlements in Georgia are dated to the Middle Paleolithic , the Acheuléen . The sites are mostly near the coast and on the rivers. One of the biggest sites located in Jaschtchwa north of Sukhumi . This place was inhabited until the Neolithic . At the end of the Acheulean, the mountain regions began to be settled, for example in the caves of Kudaro near the village of Chasawali at an altitude of 1,600 m. Some of these settlement sites were used until the early Bronze Age . The people lived as hunters and gatherers and had simple tools, mostly made of andesite , jasper , chalcedony , flint and basalt .

The Acheuleans were followed by the Neanderthals and the Moustérien up to 40,000 BC. The settlement was denser and extended over almost all parts of the country. The focus was on the Black Sea coast, in the Rioni-Qwirila basin and in the valleys of Ksani , Liachwi and Prone . The Neanderthals continued to live as hunters and gatherers, but the tools were more finely worked, obsidian was added as a material and the first use of fire is documented for this time. After the Moustérien the population density decreased due to the cooler climate and only the Black Sea coast and the Rioni - Qwirila basin remained densely populated. During this time, other tools were developed, including bows and arrows , as found in the Sakaschia cave near Kutaisi. The number of jewelry finds is also increasing.

From 40,000 BCE, in the Upper Palaeolithic , the Cro-Magnon man appears in the region for the first time.

From 12,000 BC. In the Mesolithic , the higher parts of Georgia were also repopulated. People are becoming more sedentary and fishing is spreading.

In the Neolithic from the 8th to 5th millennium BC In Georgia, as in the neighboring areas to the south, agriculture and cattle breeding as well as the manufacture of ceramics developed. In addition to new production methods, dolomite, diorite, nephrite and jadeite also found new materials. The first settlements probably consisted of wooden houses, the localities are mainly in western Georgia. Aruchlo is one of the oldest known Neolithic settlements to date.

Copper, Bronze and Iron Ages

From the 5th millennium BC Metal processing spread in Georgia, first in western Georgia. With the exception of western Georgia, the Kura-Araxes culture developed in the 4th millennium . Agriculture finally prevailed over hunting. Artificial irrigation began in Niederkartlien , where millet, barley and wheat were the main crops. Mainly cattle, and more rarely sheep, were kept. Remnants of settlements have been found in Sagwardschile, Samele Klde , Samerzchle Klde and Tetramiza , among others . The houses were made of rammed earth . The east Georgian settlements, including Imiris-Gora , Chisaantgora, Didube, Nazargora, Imiri and Schulaweri, are sometimes over 1000 m high. They were built on hills, the houses had an oval floor plan. Ceramic finds indicate trade with the southern regions as far as Lake Van .

At the beginning of the 2nd millennium, in the Middle Bronze Age , the Trialeti culture developed in eastern Georgia . The settlements relocated to the mountains and many of the Kura-Araxes culture settlements were abandoned. Agriculture has been replaced by cattle breeding, possibly by nomadic immigrants. The handicraft reached its first boom during this time. Above all, Kurgane and burial mounds were found, but no settlements. In western Georgia, the culture of the early Bronze Age with agriculture and settlements in the lowlands was preserved, but cattle breeding increased here too. The mountainous region was more heavily populated here, but there was hardly any contact with the Trialeti culture. The horse had been known in Georgia since the middle of the 2nd millennium, by the end of the millennium it was already widespread and was used economically and militarily.

From the end of the 2nd millennium the population increased and metallurgy and agriculture continued to develop. Tin was imported from neighboring regions in Iran or Asia Minor. From around the 12th century BC. Iron processing began in Inner Kartlien. Until 800 BC In BC iron prevailed over bronze. At the same time, the use of swords developed. As the economy developed, there was greater prosperity and greater disparities in property. There are also finds of villages and fortified settlements for Eastern Georgia at this time. Places of worship were often found in them. The Colchis culture developed in western Georgia and spread to Eastern Anatolia, parts of the North Caucasus and Inner Cartia. In it the buildings were mostly made of wood, only in the mountains also made of stone, and agriculture was the economic basis. In the handicraft, textile production and pottery in particular developed. Metallurgical centers were at Ghebi and in the Chorochi basin. The effect of this culture on the Greeks was incorporated into the Argonaut legend. Eventually a culture of its own developed in East Georgia and pushed back the Colchian one.


Caucasus with Iberia 250 AD

In the 13th century BC . BC was - Heinz Ensign , according to - the Kingdom Diaochi from a combination of different kartwelischer tribes. In it he summarizes the traditions of the countries Daiaeni (approx. 12th - 9th century BC) and Diaueḫe (8th century BC), the equation and localization of which, however, is very controversial. Diaochi was one of the strongest Black Sea countries and had until the middle of the 8th century BC. Chr. Passed. Then it or Diauee was conquered by Urartu , parts went up according to the ensign in the land of Kolcha , which is said to have formed in the Colchis from the 11th century , but its location is also controversial. Later new states emerged, including perhaps the kingdom of Gamirru of the Cimmerians and in the 7th and 6th centuries BC. The kingdom of Speri in the southwest.

In the 6th century BC The state of Colchis was formed in the west of today's Georgia . In the 4th century BC The country of Iberia arose in the mountainous east . It was also called Kartlien because the Iberians called themselves Kartweli . The countries were separated by the Lichi Mountains . Both states had close economic ties with Greece , Parthia and the Achaemenids . Gold , silver , copper and iron were mined in the Caucasus Mountains . Georgian craftsmen forged swords from it. After the Argonauts legend, Jason and the Argonauts stole the Golden Fleece from Colchis.

Nike statue from Colchis, found in Vani, Georgia

When Alexander the Great after 333 BC When Persia conquered, Colchis and Iberia became independent. In the time of the Diadoch Wars they were conquered by the Pontic general Ason , who established a reign of terror. With the help of Parnawa, Iberia freed itself from Ason and established the Parnawasid dynasty . With the exception of Colchis, which was on friendly terms with Iberia, Georgia was united and maintained good relations with the Diadochus Seleucus .

In the Mithridatic Wars , Colchis stood as a province and Iberia as a vassal on the side of Pontus and thus against Rome. 66 BC After defeating Pontus , the Roman general Pompey conquered Iberia and Colchis. They became Roman vassals. Colchis disintegrated in the 1st century. The successor state Lasika was formed . Between 189 and 284 Iberia was ruled by a sideline of the Parthian Arsacids called Aršakiani . It was then replaced by the Chosroids , also of Iranian descent .

In 337, Georgia was one of the first countries in the world to convert to Christianity . King Mirian III from Iberia from the Chosroids dynasty introduced Christianity as the official state religion. On January 17, 395, the southwestern Colchis became part of the Eastern Roman Empire . From 591 the Eastern Roman creed applied.

Iberia became a Persian vassal state for the first time in the 3rd century . After that, it switched sides frequently in order to maintain its existence. In the 6th century it was a Persian province, but regained full political autonomy in 591 during the reign of Prince Stephan I (590-607), since the Persian great king Chosrau II had to cede Armenia to the Eastern Roman Empire and thus access to Iberia lost (see also Roman-Persian Wars ). Thereafter, Iberia oriented itself to Byzantium in terms of foreign policy .

The Arabs first came to Georgia in 642, but were unable to conquer the country for the time being. Several wars broke out in which Georgia was gradually conquered by the Arabs. Lasika and Iberia split up into smaller principalities, including Kartli , Kakheti , Heretia , Tao-Klardsheti , Abkhazia and Egrisi . In 755 an emir was installed in Tbilisi . The southern cities of the country were the centers of rule of the Arabs. The rural areas and the north were only under loose control. Attempts at Islamization were largely unsuccessful. In a sense, this undertaking actually achieved the exact opposite of its goal: as a reaction to Arab rule, the Georgian church language spread among the people and thus became the decisive common characteristic of the Georgians for the following centuries.

The territorial unification of the country can also be described as an unintended consequence of the Arab administrative structure. The Bagratids , appointed by the foreign rulers as governors over Abkhazia, united the western principalities of Georgia under their rule and ruled there almost autonomously. The eastern parts remained under the control of the Emir of Tbilisi.

middle Ages

Caucasus with Georgian states around 900 AD

At the beginning of the 11th century, King Bagrat III. East and West Georgian kingdoms as well as the Abkhazian and Georgian lines of the Bagratids in one Georgian kingdom . However, large areas of the country were under the rule of other rulers. Only his grandson Bagrat IV ascended the throne in Tbilisi in 1039. His descendants ruled parts of Georgia until 1801. However, Kakheti-Heretia broke away from the dominion several times. It was not until 1104 that it finally became part of Georgia. In spite of various raids and foreign rule, Georgia continued to flourish by the 13th century.

From 1065 the Turkish Seljuks attacked the country. After the Battle of Manzikert (1071), Asia Minor finally came under their suzerainty. Georgia also had to pay tribute from around 1080. In addition, some cities in the east of the country were provided with Seljuk garrisons and individual equestrian associations repeatedly plundered the rest of the country. In this precarious situation, King Dawit IV the builder ascended the throne in 1089 . At the same time, positive changes in the Seljuk Empire began for Georgia. The central power was noticeably weakened and finally disintegrated after the death of Sultan Muhammad I (1118). At the same time the empire was attacked again from the outside by the beginning crusade movement (1096 departure for the first crusade).

Through energetic reforms, King David IV succeeded in creating a disciplined standing royal army with which he drove the Seljuks out of the country by 1122 and conquered the border provinces of Armenia and Azerbaijan for Georgia. Several neighboring areas also became dependent on Georgia. The kingdoms of Shrivan on the Caspian Sea, Trebizond on the southern coast of the Black Sea as well as the Ossetian people and many smaller mountain peoples in the high Caucasus and the northern regions had to recognize Georgia as the dominant power. In addition, David succeeded in forcing the powerful local territorial princes to cooperate. At the end of his reign (1125), the unification of Georgia can therefore be regarded as complete.

David's successors were only able to maintain the empire he had built, but not to expand it. In addition, there were repeated clashes with neighboring peoples and problems with the nobility who wanted to restrict the power of kings.

David's successor Dimitri I decreed that Muslims in Georgia could practice their religion without restriction. Under the reign of Queen Tamara , state proclamations were only issued after consultation with the Darbasi aristocratic parliament . At the local level, it created courts whose decisions could be appealed to a Supreme Court. The Queen abolished the death penalty and the mutilation of offenders.

Georgia under the rule of Queen Tamar

In 1220 the Mongols invaded the southern border and Armenia for the first time . In 1225 the Chwarzemen, fleeing from the Mongols, temporarily occupied Tbilisi and used the city as a base for their raids.

Initially, the Mongols themselves largely ignored Georgia. For their first raids into Russia, they only passed the edge of the Caucasus. Between 1235 and 1240, their general Batu Khan appeared there repeatedly and subjugated the entire Georgian Empire. In 1243 Queen Rusudan was forced to officially recognize Mongolian sovereignty. Georgia had to pay taxes and provide auxiliary troops for campaigns.

Later Georgia was drawn more and more into the internal conflicts of the Mongol Empire. Various factions put kings on their throne in Tbilisi. Attempts to insurrection were bloodily suppressed. The power of the kings dwindled more and more until they only had the title, but the real power was exercised by influential families in the background.

When the Mongol Empire fell apart, Giorgi V (1314-1346) was able to bring a contiguous territory under his rule, for which he could claim the succession of Georgia. But the country was finally destroyed by the plague (1348/49, 1366) and the conquests of Timur Leng (1385-1403). Although Timur was unable to establish permanent rule in Georgia, the country did not find its way back to its old power even after his departure. It remained an area in which individual local princes ruled, although they possessed a vague feeling of togetherness, but did not decide to actually join forces. The cities were depopulated, fertile farmland was taken over by shepherds, free farmers and artisans were degraded to the serfs of the princes. After the death of Alexander I (1442), the last king of a united Georgia, the house of the Bagratids split into three lines. One ruled over Kartli from Tbilisi , the second ruled western Imereti , and the third was in Kakheti, eastern Georgia . The rest of the country came under the control of some self-appointed, some long-established princes or princes. The largest principalities were Abkhazia , Guria , Mingrelia , Samtskhe and Svaneti . In the mountain regions of the Caucasus, even old patriarchal tribal structures prevailed again. Nomadic tribes that had emerged from the Mongolian Empire invaded the country again and again.

Social structure in the Middle Ages

Between the late eleventh and early thirteenth centuries, the Georgian Empire reached the height of its power. A differentiated management system was also set up in this phase. It only existed in its full form in this epoch, but many offices were known beforehand and continued to exist for some time. At the head was the royal cabinet, which consisted of the Vaziri , the ministers. Each of the cabinet members could rely on an extensive staff of officials.

The High Chancellor headed the cabinet, but at least officially he had no authority over the other ministers. This post was mostly occupied by the Archbishop of Tchqondidi. Because of this dual function, he maintained the connection between worldly and spiritual power. He administered the management of the royal chancellery and supervised the court officials. He was also responsible for mobilizing the troops. The Minister of War administered the army and was particularly responsible for the standing royal army and the supply of weapons and horses. The Atabagi also held a military position . However, it was more about the performance of police tasks in the country.

The remaining cabinet members had a slightly lower status. The master of ceremonies was entrusted with the administration of the court servants and the organization of official events. The treasurer was responsible for the finances that were not administered in the other departments. He also controlled the financial management of the larger cities and tax collection. There were also a large number of court officials, including royal cupbearers, hunters and foresters.

The individual provinces were ruled by Eristavni . These were nobles who were actually only appointed by the king. In practice, however, the provinces remained firmly in the hands of the families who had ruled them for several generations. Together with representatives of the high clergy, these territorial rulers formed the royal council. The rank of an Eristavi was measured by how large the area he administered and whether it had been an independent kingdom before the annexation to Georgia. The Eristavi were the rulers over all non-aristocrats in their country and could also influence the churches as far as their connection to secular power was concerned. Their main and original task, however, was to lead the troops raised in their area into battle. Although they could not judge themselves, they were in charge of court hearings against the lower inhabitants of their province. They also received an annual tax and an irregular tax, as well as part of the fines paid to the courts. Several officers assisted them in carrying out their duties.

There was also a large number of lower land nobility. Except for their military function in the knight army, they were mostly endowed with little political influence. Try to create a kind of aristocratic parliament. failed because of the great power of the king. In addition, there was a bewildering number of dignitaries whose titles were partly inherited, partly awarded for life and whose authority and powers can no longer be precisely determined. Usually, however, such titles were bestowed by the king in connection with land ownership to a subordinate, usually a deserving officer, who thereby became a direct patron of the throne. In addition, there were the clan chiefs of the mostly patriarchal mountain dwellers in the high Caucasus , who were able to exert a significant influence.

The lower classes of Georgian society were also organized in many ways. Aznauri were called the free. Their social status was dependent on the age of their family. Probation in a public office or as a soldier could also increase the reputation of the individual and the entire clan. Their means of power could well include owning their own fortresses and extensive treasures. It was similar with the Vadcharni , the traders. The more powerful among them were even able to exert some influence on the royal court.

The class of serfs was divided into two groups. The Msakhurni seem to have had a somewhat higher status, as they already existed in ancient society and were often elevated to the status of the Aznauri. The Qma were originally slaves and among them there were again various degrees. The higher-ranking Qma had contracts in which it was specified exactly which work they had to carry out. A gentleman could grant his Qma special rights. This practice was often used as a reward for good service, especially in war. For example, a Qma could receive gifts, relief from duties, and even land ownership. In the course of time these rewards were granted so often that in the heyday of Georgia many Qma were only in a loose patronage relationship with their masters and in turn became patrons of subordinate Qma.

The Georgian Orthodox Apostle Church was also a determining power factor in medieval Georgia. As the bearer of the religion and thus the outstanding characteristic of the Georgians in relation to the mostly non-religious environment, it was of particular importance. In addition, it was a crucial bridge to Europe, as it was based on the Greek-Byzantine Church. It represented the highest authority in matters of civil justice and could even allow itself to reprimand kings and princes in their actions. The upbringing of the nobility was firmly in their hands. At the same time, the bishops and abbots were also provided with extensive secular means of power. Extensive land ownership and the patronage of a large number of Qma with simultaneous exemption from almost all taxes made it possible for them to set up their own armies to support those of the kings on their campaigns. This shows that in Georgia, unlike in Western Europe, there were hardly any disputes over competence between the Catholicos, the highest dignitary of the Georgian Church, and the king. They and their hierarchies co-existed on an equal footing and mostly pursued the same goals.

The medieval legal system in Georgia was shaped by the overcoming of archaic tribal jurisprudence. The old blood revenge principle was replaced by blood money, at least in the central territories of the empire. The murder of a person could be atoned for by paying a certain amount in money or goods (including slaves) to his family. The amount of this sum was calculated according to the social position of both the murdered and the murderer. For offenses such as bodily harm, theft or defamation, fixed fractions of the blood money had to be paid. A special grace that a patron could show his Qma was the increase in blood money above the usual amounts for his class, which meant a special protection. Crimes such as theft or robbery, if the perpetrator was caught in the act, were initially punished with the payment of a multiple of the value of the stolen property. If the offense was repeated, blinding or mutilation could be used as punishment.

Inferior justice in the countryside was carried out by traveling judges. These were usually appointed by the king, and occasionally by the more powerful territorial princes. The judges made a living from the portion of the sentences they received. At the same time, they had to pay part of the fine to the ruler who had appointed them, making them an important element in the financial order of the Georgian Empire.

Serious disputes among nobles were settled through duels. The loser was usually executed and his property passed to the crown. In the lower classes, decisions were occasionally brought about by divine judgments.

Early modern age

16th and 17th centuries

Georgia's capital Tbilisi 1671

When Constantinople fell in 1453 , contact with the Christian states of Europe was broken off. At the same time, a new line of conflict began to emerge in Asia Minor . While the Turks were building the Ottoman Empire , Persia was regaining its strength . In this conflict, the southern parts of Georgia quickly became a battleground. Again and again one of the two opponents succeeded in gaining control in one or the other principality.

In 1512 the Ottomans occupied Samzche without a fight and subjugated Imeretia from there . The respective rulers remained in office as vassals of the Turks. The Persians supported Bagrat III. of Imereti, who conquered Samtskhe in 1535. However, the Turks took the territory from him again in 1545 and equipped his fortresses with strong garrisons. From this point on, a gradual process of subjugation began both from the west by the Ottomans and from the east by the Persians, in the course of which individual minor princes placed themselves under the protection of one of the two great empires.

Once again a central Georgian power flared up. Between 1577 and 1599, Simon von Kartli, with Persian support, succeeded in driving the Turks out of his principality and defeating them in other parts of the country. However, when his vassal became too strong, the Shah Abbas I decided to take him prisoner and put his son Giorgi X on the throne.

The population suffered severe attacks in both areas of influence. Both the Persians and the Ottomans engaged in slave trade , abducted Georgians to other parts of their empire and forced the country's princes to provide them with troops for their campaigns. As a reaction, there were repeated uprisings by the rural population, sometimes with the support of Georgian princes, but they were always unsuccessful. There were also bitter feuds between the individual principalities, most of which were supported by the occupying powers.

Georgia's princes sought an ally against the foreign rulers in Russia , the only Christian empire in the area. Contacts between Georgian and Russian princes had been established since the end of the 15th century. Despite successful campaigns in Daghestan in 1604 under Boris Godunov , Russia was too weak for a long time, while the Persian and Ottoman empires were too strong to be able to intervene in the Caucasus. Teimuras I of Kakheti (1586–1663) tried unsuccessfully to rebel against Persian suzerainty. Thereupon the royal dignity in Kartlien under Wachtang V was connected for the first time in 1656 with the title of a Persian viceroy. Eastern Georgia thus became an integral part of the Persian Empire. This implemented the Ottoman-Persian treaty of 1636, which set the Lichi Mountains as the border of bilateral interests.

18th century

At the beginning of the 18th century, with the collapse of the Persian Empire and the rise of Russia, extensive changes began in Transcaucasia. When Peter I led a campaign in the North Caucasus in 1722, Watchtang VI hoped . on Russian support to free Georgia from the Persian Empire. He attacked the city of Ganja with his army. But Russia did not intervene. The Persians dispatched King Constantine of Kakheti, who defeated Vakhtang's army and conquered Tbilisi the following year. A year later, Wachtang returned with a Turkish force and retook his capital. But as early as 1725 he fell out of favor with the Ottomans and had to flee to Russia.

The Turks conducted successful offensives in other parts of Persia as well. In 1726 they were de facto the dominant power in Transcaucasia and undertook a new division of the territory in order to integrate Georgia firmly into the Turkish state association. This led to numerous uprisings and raids in which the Georgians used guerrilla tactics to drive out the Turks under the leadership of a few disempowered princes. Several attacks by Lesghrian horsemen hit the Turks painfully. In 1733, with the support of Abkhazians, it was possible to destroy an entire Turkish landing army.

In this situation the Persian power flared up again: Nadir Shah defeated the Ottomans on a broad front and brought their entire eastern territory to the collapse. In 1735 Nadir also conquered Georgia's southern cities, including Tbilisi. He devastated Kartlien and placed Transcaucasia under the rule of his brother Ibrahim. Georgian princes had to accompany Nadir with their soldiers on a campaign to India , the population had to pay high taxes and deliver food.

When Nadir was defeated in Daghestan in 1741 and withdrew to Derbend, the situation for the Georgians became even tougher. The Persian troops confiscated food, and Tbilisi and other Georgian cities were plundered several times by Indian and Afghan mercenaries. Revolts came to a bloody end. Many Georgians, including princes, fled to the Ottoman Empire. In a war that broke out in 1743, Kartlien and Kakheti under Teimuras II fought on the side of the Persians against the Lesghrian allies of the Turks. Then Teimuras began to strive for the independence of his country, prepared to repel another Persian invasion. This did not happen, however, because Nadir was murdered in 1747 and Persia finally sank into internal disputes.

From the same year, Irakli II ruled together with his father Teimuras over Kartli and Kakheti. Through campaigns with large mercenary armies from the surrounding peoples, both were able to expand their rule to the southeast and Abkhazia. However , they were mostly unsuccessful against the attacks of the Lesghrians, the Kurds and the Armenian Shah of the crumbling Persia. Many of the country's old principalities remained outside the Georgian king's sphere of influence. Western Georgia was under the uncertain rule of Solomon I and Samtskhe belonged to the Ottoman Empire . Nevertheless, Irakli managed to maintain a stable regime, even against its own nobility. He brought scholars, traders and officers from Western Europe to the country to promote development.

In the second half of the 18th century there was increased cooperation between the eastern and western parts of the country by supporting Russia in the 5th Russian Turkish War . In 1770 Tsarina Katharina sent an army under General Gottlob Heinrich von Tottleben to the Caucasus. Together with the troops of Irakli and Solomon they defeated the Turks. In 1772 Irakli succeeded again in defeating the Turks. In the peace treaty of 1774 between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, however, the Georgians were hardly taken into account.

A year after Solomon died in 1782 after a crushing defeat by the Turks, Irakli placed eastern Georgia (Kartlien-Kakheti) under Russian protection in the Treaty of Georgievsk . In it, control of Georgian foreign policy was handed over to Russia. The roads across the Caucasus were expanded and Russian troops were stationed in Tbilisi.

In 1789 Irakli was able to put his own grandson David II on the throne of Imeretia. In 1795 the Aga Mohammed Khan invaded the country unexpectedly , destroyed the surprised army and devastated Tbilisi. In 1796 Russian troops drove the invaders out of Transcaucasia . The Shah's death in the spring of 1797 prevented a Persian counter-attack. A year later, Irakli II also died ; he was followed by his son Giorgi XII. on the throne.

In the Russian Empire, 1801–1917

Georgia in the Russian Empire, 1882: The governorates of Tbilisi, Kutais and Kars as well as the Sukhumi district

The Persians exerted a subtle influence on Giorgi. When he seemed to be considering an alliance with the Shah, Tsar Paul intervened and sent troops to Tbilisi. The Persians tried to force a decision by putting an army on the march in 1800 with a defected brother Iraklis. However, the Russian associations turned out to be victorious.

Giorgi feared another Persian invasion and proposed to Russia the incorporation of Georgia into Russia. However, he demanded that the Georgian royal family keep the crown. On November 19, 1800, there was a corresponding diplomatic note, which had been negotiated by Georgian ambassadors with the Russian Foreign Minister in Saint Petersburg . Even before the note was ratified by both sides, on January 18, 1801 , Tsar Paul I issued a unilateral decree to annex Georgia. Eastern Georgia's heir to the throne, David Batonishvili , was removed from power four months later, replaced by a government led by Russian general Ivan Petrovich Lazarev , and finally taken out of the country. In April 1802 the aristocracy was forced to take an oath on the Russian imperial crown by force of arms. From 1802 to 1804 and in 1812 there were anti-Russian uprisings in mountain regions loyal to the king and in parts of Kartliens and Kakheti. Around 10,000 Russian soldiers who were in the country at the time thwarted their success.

The regions in the west of the country remained independent of the state for a decade. It was not until 1810 that Russia conquered the Georgian Kingdom of Imereti . It took Russia another 54 years to gain complete control of western Georgia. The Guria region was abolished in 1828, Mingrelia in 1857. The Svaneti region was annexed between 1857 and 1859, the Principality of Abkhazia in 1864.

Vorontsov Monument in Tbilisi, 1890

Georgia was subjected to intensive Russification in order to adapt the social and cultural system to Russian conditions. At the same time, Russian rule opened Georgia to Europe. Tbilisi became the Paris of the East . Enlightenment , liberalism and modern national consciousness flourished in Georgia . The Bagration brothers translated works of European literature into Georgian. Germans settled in South Georgia. After 1825, exiles from the failed liberal Decembrist uprising found refuge in Georgia under the government of the Russian governor Alexei Yermolov . An insurgent regiment from Saint Petersburg , to which a particularly large number of members of the liberal intelligentsia belonged, was deported to Georgia and connected with the local upper class.

Georgia pushed for independence. In 1832 an attempt to bring the Bagratid dynasty back to power failed. The tsar sent Prince Mikhail Vorontsov to secure Russian rule as viceroy of the Caucasus . Vorontsov, who was educated in England, modernized trade, industry, town planning and transport, founded the first theater in 1845 and the first public library in Transcaucasia in 1846. 1866 was in Georgia serfdom abolished.

In the second half of the 19th century the discontent of the Georgians grew to a national liberation movement . In 1905 a large-scale peasant uprising broke out, followed by political reforms that temporarily eased tensions. The Menshevik Social Democratic Labor Party became the leading political force . In the elections to the Russian State Duma in 1905, she won all seats in Georgia.

First Republic, 1917–1921

Declaration of Independence of Georgia, May 1918

In 1917 the February Revolution in Russia brought down the tsarist order in Georgia as well. Georgia, together with Armenia and Azerbaijan, formed a Special Transcaucasian Committee ( Russian : Osobyi Zakavkazskii Komitet ), which was supposed to ensure order in the upheaval phase. It was followed by the Transcaucasian Federation from April to May 1918 . However, their military forces were too weak to protect the three countries against Turkey , whose troops immediately followed the withdrawing Russian forces.

In order to save Georgia from a Turkish conquest, the Georgian National Assembly (Georgian Dampudsnebeli Kreba ) started negotiations with Germany , which was ready to protect an independent Georgia from the attack of the Ottoman Empire . In return, Berlin demanded privileges in the exploitation of manganese and copper as well as the oil transfer from the Caspian Sea . The Reich government had already stationed 3,000 German soldiers in Georgia to ensure the supply of raw materials to German heavy industry.

On May 26, 1918, Georgia declared itself independent as the Democratic Republic of Georgia . Two days later, Germany was the first to recognize the republic. This was followed by Romania , Argentina and Turkey . In an additional agreement to the peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk , which was signed in Berlin on August 27, 1918, Soviet Russia renounced Georgia. After Germany surrendered in November of the same year, Great Britain took over the protection of Georgia. Even then, however, there were armed conflicts in the regions of Abkhazia and in particular in South Ossetia , both of which were claimed by Georgia. The Georgian-South Ossetian conflict from 1918 to 1920 in particular claimed thousands of lives on the Ossetian side.

Soviet Russia recognized Georgia under international law on May 7, 1920. The country took part in the Versailles Peace Conference and became a member of the League of Nations on January 27, 1921 .

The first Prime Minister of Georgia was the Social Democrat Noe Ramishvili in June 1918 . He headed a coalition cabinet made up of Menshevik Social Democrats, National Democrats and Social Federalists. After a landslide victory by the Social Democrats in parliamentary elections in February 1919, Prime Minister Noe Schordania succeeded him . The government implemented agrarian reform and extensive social legislation , introduced the eight-hour working day and cracked down on Bolshevik and separatist movements in Georgia. On February 21, 1921, the parliament passed Georgia's first constitution based on the Swiss model .

On February 11, 1921, the 11th Army of the Red Workers 'and Peasants' Army marched into Georgia. Tbilisi was attacked from three sides on February 25th and occupied despite fierce opposition from the Democratic People's Guard . Over 300 cadets from the Tbilisi Military School were killed defending the capital. On the same day, the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed. The democratic government fled first to Kutaisi , then to Batumi and left the country on March 17th. Parliament had met one last time the day before.

Second Republic, 1921–1991


On April 6, 1921, all property in Georgia was expropriated and nationalized. The previous Georgian state was systematically smashed. South Ossetia and Ajaria were granted far-reaching autonomy rights, and Abkhazia , the Abkhazian Socialist Soviet Republic , broke away completely from Georgia. In December 1922, the newly established Georgian Soviet Republic was subordinated to the Transcaucasian Federal Soviet Socialist Republic (TFSSR), which also included Armenia and Azerbaijan . The capital of the Transcaucasian Soviet Republic was Tbilisi, Georgians were its largest population group. In 1936, however, the TFSSR dissolved again, and the territory of Georgia was now administered by the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic . As early as 1931, the independent Soviet Republic of Abkhazia was dissolved by order of Josef Stalin and annexed to Georgia.

On August 28, 1924, the Georgian Assumption Day (Georgian Mariamoba ), the August uprising against the Soviet occupation broke out. The insurgents were supported by the government in exile in Paris and used a variety of hidden weapons. The commander of the Red Army in Georgia was killed by a local pilot who crashed the Tokkōtai- style plane . Stalin had the uprising put down and the organizers executed. The 25-year-old Chekist Lavrenti Beria , who received the Order of the Red Banner , stood out.

Flag of the Georgian SSR

Over 30,000 Georgians, mainly nobles, large landowners and monarchists from the country's political and social elite, were shot between 1921 and 1924 or disappeared in Soviet penal camps. Around 50,000 Georgians fell victim to the Stalin purges of 1935–1938, 1942 and 1945–1950. There were many intellectuals among them. Almost half of the group of writers Blue Horns (Georgian Tsisperi Kantsebi ) perished . Their fate is documented in the Museum of the Soviet Occupation in Tbilisi, which opened in 2006 .

Second World War

Although it was a war goal of Adolf Hitler to reach the Caucasian oil fields, the Axis powers hardly got beyond the Georgian border area. The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories submitted a draft for the Georgia General District in January 1942 . He was to be subordinate to a newly established Reich Commissioner for the Caucasus . The Todt Organization planned a highway along the Abkhazian Black Sea coast through the Colchian Plain and the Transcaucasian Depression to Baku . However, the plans stayed in the drawer. The German Wehrmacht crossed the Georgian border in Abkhazia in 1942, occupied the mountain village of Pßchu , 20 km off the coast of the Black Sea near Gudauta , but then had to withdraw.

Georgians fought on both sides of the front: at least 30,000 in the ranks of the Wehrmacht's Eastern Legions , the Georgian Legion , the North Caucasian Legion, and other legions of ethnic Caucasians. However, they were not used on the Eastern Front. In April 1945 a Georgian battalion rose against the Wehrmacht in the Georgian uprising on the North Sea island of Texel .

The majority, over 700,000 Georgians, fought in the ranks of the Red Army. 2,500 Georgian recruits defended the fortress of Brest against the German attack. The country became an important location for ammunition production. It produced aircraft, automatic rifles, grenade launchers, and ammunition. It was Meliton Kantaria, a Georgian sergeant, who hoisted the Soviet flag as a symbol of victory on the Berlin Reichstag building . In 1942 several prisoner-of-war camps for German soldiers from the Caucasus Front, Melitopol, Nikopol, the Crimea and Army Group Center were set up near Tbilisi. They were closed in the early 1950s.

Modernization and corruption

After the Second World War, Georgia experienced a surge in industrialization and urbanization. Rustavi was developed into a heavy industrial center. In the course of de-Stalinization , the Tbilisi massacre occurred in 1956 , when thousands of Georgians took to the streets to vent the violation of their national pride. At least 80, possibly more than 150, people were killed by the army when the peaceful demonstrations culminated in an uprising against Soviet rule.

The decentralization program introduced by Khrushchev in the mid-1950s was used by the Georgian Communist Party to expand its regional power base. In addition to the official state economy, a flourishing private shadow economy emerged , which made Georgia one of the most successful Soviet republics, but at the same time led to a sharp rise in corruption.

While corruption was not unheard of in the Soviet Union, it was so evident in Georgia that it embarrassed the leadership in Moscow. Even the highest offices were considered for sale. Eduard Shevardnadze , Interior Minister in Tbilisi between 1964 and 1972, made a name for himself as a campaigner against corruption and organized the replacement of Vasily Mschawanadze , the corrupt First Party Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party. Shevardnadze was promoted to First Party Secretary with Moscow's blessing. From 1972 to 1985 he effectively ruled Georgia, improved the state economy and sacked hundreds of corrupt officials.


Georgia in the Soviet Union, 1951–1991

The 1970s saw a revival of Georgian nationalism . A small but effective nationalist opposition formed around Swiad Gamsachurdia and Merab Kostawa . She called for the Russification of Georgia to be stopped and for the country's cultural identity to be protected. In 1978 there were protests by staff and students at the Tbilisi State University against the incorporation of Russian as the official language in the Georgian constitution. 16 students were forcibly de-registered. The constitutional amendment had to be reversed.

In 1978 Abkhazia threatened to fall away from Georgia. Leading Abkhazian politicians complained about the unfair treatment of their ethnic group in cultural, linguistic, political and economic matters. Shevardnadze solved the crisis by giving the Abkhazians more participation rights.

Shevardnadze's attempt to regulate Georgia's farmers led to an economic crisis . They should no longer own more than one cow and should not be allowed to sell their goods freely in markets. Instead, all agricultural products had to be delivered to the kolkhoz. This led to such a shortage of food that food cards had to be introduced from 1980 to 1984 . The legally sold butter was reduced to 600 grams per month, the legally sold sugar to one kilogram per person per month.

Shevardnadze took a hard hand against the system opposition that flared up again and again. He had the critical journalist Nasi Schamanauri tried in the early 1980s and later admitted to a psychiatric clinic, where she died. In November 1983 the plane hijacked in Tbilisi , an attempt by several young Georgians to escape, failed . They hijacked an Aeroflot liner and tried in vain to force it to land in Turkey . Upon their return, they were sentenced to death in August 1984 with Shevardnadze's approval and executed . An independent initiative had in vain collected signatures for their lives. The monk Theodor Tschichladse was a "ringleader" shot .


Mikhail Gorbachev appointed Shevardnadze as Soviet Foreign Minister in July 1985. Then Jumber Patiashvili came to head the Georgian communists, a conservative and ineffective functionary who could not cope with the challenges of the perestroika period. At the end of the 1980s there were increasingly violent clashes between the communist rulers and the resurgent Georgian national movement and the national movements in the areas inhabited by ethnic minorities.

Opposition pressure manifested itself in demonstrations and strikes. On April 9, 1989, Soviet paratroopers led by General Igor Rodionov used spades and poison gas to break up a non-violent demonstration in front of the government building in Tbilisi . 20 Georgians were killed and hundreds injured. This attack radicalized Georgian politics and led many people, including communists, to conclude that state independence was preferable to continuation of Soviet rule.

On October 28, 1990 there were multi-party elections for the Supreme Soviet. The electoral winner was the nationalist electoral alliance Round Table - Free Georgia ( Georgian Mrgvali Magida Tavisupali Sakartvelo ). It received 155 out of 250 (= 62%) seats. Its chairman, Zviad Gamsakhurdia , became chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Georgia.

On March 31, 1991, Gamsachurdia organized a referendum on state independence, which was confirmed with 99.5% of the vote. Georgia's independence was declared on April 9, 1991. Gamsakhurdia turned against any dominance of the Soviet Union in Georgia, called for the dissolution of the Soviet military bases in the country and refused to take part in the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Third Republic, from 1991

Gamsakhurdia era

Flag of Georgia 1991-2004

Sviad Gamsakhurdia was elected the first President of Georgia on May 26, 1991 with 86% of the vote. Domestically, his policy became increasingly volatile and authoritarian; in terms of foreign policy, he went on a confrontational course with Russia. He allowed himself to be given dictatorial powers and arrested opposition leaders. Nationalists and reformists joined forces in an anti-Gamsakhurdia coalition. The tense situation was exacerbated by the growing power of various paramilitary groups. On December 22, 1991, paramilitary groups and parts of the National Guard under Tengis Kitowani and Dschaba Iosseliani organized a military coup with Russian support , besieging Gamsakhurdia and the Presidential Guard in the parliament building in downtown Tbilisi. According to official estimates, between 100 and 1,000 people died, according to unofficial estimates around 2,000. Gamsakhurdia was able to escape his opponents, fled with his family and around 200 armed supporters in January 1992, first to Armenia , then to Sukhumi and finally to Grozny in Chechnya .

The victorious armed forces invited Eduard Shevardnadze in March 1992 to become chairman of a newly formed State Council. He gave the coup a moderate face and Georgia a new image. In August 1992 a conflict with separatist forces escalated in Georgia's Abkhazia Autonomous Republic . Tbilisi sent the national guard and paramilitary groups to stop the separatist activities. The separatists fought back with the help of the Russian Armed Forces Group in Transcaucasia, and in September 1993 the government forces suffered a catastrophic defeat. The entire Georgian population was expelled from the Autonomous Republic. Around 50,000 people died and around 200,000 had to flee.

Ethnic violence also flared up in South Ossetia , where it was eventually suppressed. This killed several hundred people and many Georgians and Ossetians fled the area. As a result, UN peacekeeping forces were deployed to the breakaway territories in 1992, including 2,000 Russian soldiers. In southwest Georgia, the Autonomous Republic came Adjara under the control of Aslan Abashidze , who until his resignation in 2004 as a personal principality led the Republic in 1991, had in the Tbilisi little influence.

On September 24, 1993, at the end of the Abkhazia conflict, Zviad Gamsakhurdia returned from exile to organize an uprising against the government. Its supporters benefited from the disorder of the government forces and overran much of western Georgia. Russia was alarmed. Russian Army units were sent to Georgia to aid the government. Gamsachurdia's rebellion quickly collapsed. He died on December 31, 1993 after being cornered by his opponents. Shevardnadze's government joined the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in March 1994 as a prize for its experienced military and political support against strong currents in Georgia's public opinion . In 1995 he assured Russia that it would leave three military bases in Georgia for a period of 20 years.

Shevardnadze era

Eduard Shevardnadze 1997

In August 1995, Shevardnadze escaped a bomb attack on his government limousine. He blamed his previous paramilitary allies for this and had the military leader Jaba Iosseliani arrested. The paramilitary militia Sakartwelos Mchedrioni was disbanded as a mafia association . In October, the majority of Georgians passed a referendum to enact a modern Western constitution that guaranteed fundamental freedoms and democracy . In November of the same year, Shevardnadze won the presidential election with 70% of the vote.

The Shevardnadze era was characterized by close relations with the USA , regular friction with Russia , an increase in corruption and economic stagnation. The President used the geopolitical situation of Georgia as a transit country for oil from the Caspian Sea to become more independent of Russia as a partner of the USA and Western Europe and to win international aid for Georgia. He signed a strategic partnership with NATO , was accepted into the Council of Europe and declared his desire to join both NATO and the European Union . The Constitutional Court began its work in 1996, and in 1997 the death penalty was abolished. In the second democratic parliamentary elections in October 1999, Shevardnadze's Citizens' Union won an absolute majority.

The USA became Georgia's largest donor country for economic and military aid. Shevardnadze secured his country the three billion dollar investment project for an oil pipeline from Azerbaijan to Turkey , the so-called Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline (BTC). In May 2002 the US sent several hundred military instructors to enable the Georgian army to fight against Chechen and Islamic partisans in the border area with Russia.

This created tension with Russia, which still regards Georgia as its sphere of influence. It used the secession areas of Abkhazia , South Ossetia and Ajaria that were facing it to exert pressure on Georgia. Of the four military bases dating from Soviet times, two, Wasiani and Gudauta , were disbanded in the summer of 2002. At the same time, Russia delayed the withdrawal of troops from the military bases in Batumi and Akhalkalaki, which was agreed in Istanbul in 1999 .

Domestically, Shevardnadze relied on the political instruments learned in Soviet times. Immediately after his 1995 election, he appointed representatives of the previous nomenklatura to key positions in the government. Reformers were given offices that were comparatively uninfluential. The ex-nomenklatura divided the lucrative state property among themselves, paying only small purchase sums for it. Gradually a mafia-like clan structure developed around the president, against which no other state institutions dared to take action.

Economically, this path led to stagnation. The expected upturn failed to materialize. Small and medium-sized firms have been driven out of the market in favor of government-run companies. Foreign investors were disadvantaged in favor of clan firms. Billions in international aid intended to boost the Georgian economy trickled into the pockets of a few. Transparency International ranked Georgia among the ten most corrupt countries in the world.

In August 2001, President of the Parliament Zurab Schwania called on Shevardnadze in an open letter to put an end to corruption. "Teachers earn 15 euros a month, while ministers are building palaces in the center of Tbilisi," said Schwania indignantly: "It goes beyond the limits of cynicism." In 2003, the International Monetary Fund stopped supporting Georgia because of the disorderly state budget. In addition, between autumn 2001 and summer 2002 the faction of the ruling party, which had an absolute majority in parliament, split into several groups.

While Shevardnadze was able to win a large majority in the presidential elections in April 2000, a solid uprising broke out in Tbilisi in autumn 2001. The trigger was a raid on the anti- government television station Rustavi-2 . Around 5,000 people took to the streets under the leadership of the former Justice Minister Mikheil Saakashvili and called for the president to be replaced. Shevardnadze had to give in and fired his interior minister and the head of the secret service.

In 2002 the political opposition formed into two new parties, the National Movement of Mikheil Saakashvili and the United Democrats of Zurab Schwanias. For the parliamentary elections on November 2, 2003, Parliamentary President Nino Burjanadze joined the reformers to replace the government.

Rose Revolution 2003

Demonstrations in Tbilisi during the 2003 Georgian Rose Revolution

The parliamentary elections of November 2, 2003 were only confirmed by the election commission after several weeks of dispute. After the results were announced, President Shevardnadze was accused by the opposition of massive electoral fraud , and the US and other foreign election observers also criticized the vote. On the day before November 22nd, the country’s security chief admitted electoral fraud, which greatly encouraged the opposition. The first session of the new parliament took place on November 22nd; it was boycotted by members of the opposition.

On the night of November 22, 2003, demonstrators had already gathered in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi; their number swelled to over 100,000 in the afternoon. They demanded the resignation of President Shevardnadze, and even during the opening speech of the President they stormed into the meeting room under the leadership of opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili. The security forces in front of the building let the demonstrators pass unhindered. Shevardnadze fled the building and the opposition spoke of a velvet revolution in Georgia.

Saakashvili announced that in the event of a presidency, Georgia would transform itself into a democracy based on the western model and implement comprehensive economic reforms. The opposition politician and parliamentary president Nino Burdschanadze took over the official duties of the president on a provisional basis on the basis of the constitution. Both called for new elections.

Russia left its troops stationed in Georgia in the barracks and on the evening of November 22, 2003 sent its Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, to the Caucasus. Initially, the CIS states officially criticized the opposition's actions.

On the evening of November 22, 2003, President Shevardnadze declared a state of emergency and asked parliament to confirm it within 48 hours, otherwise he would hand over the reins to the military. However, he had already been in a residence outside of Tbilisi since fleeing the parliament building.

On the morning of November 23, 2003, the opposition held a mediation meeting with Igor Ivanov, and in the afternoon Ivanov also met Shevardnadze. In the afternoon, two ministers, including the security chief, and parts of the National Guard defected to the opposition. In the evening, Shevardnadze announced his resignation.

Parliamentary President Burjanadze appointed Zurab Schwania as the incumbent minister of state, who should manage the business of the head of government until the new parliamentary elections.

Saakashvili era

Inauguration of President Saakashvili in 2004

On January 4, 2004, Mikheil Saakashvili won the presidential election with a landslide victory of 96% of the vote. He brought successful Georgians abroad to the country as ministers for important areas of reform. He took energetic action against corruption in the country. Bribery officials were arrested and had to hand over their property to the state. Georgia rose Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International from place 133 in 2004 to 67th place in 2008 and continue on No. 51 in 2012 and overtook several EU countries, including Italy, Latvia and the Czech Republic. The hitherto omnipresent everyday corruption ("petty corruption") has practically disappeared.

The privatization of the state sector was advanced. In 2004, national debt fell for the first time as a result of consistent reforms. Saakashvili managed to drive out the Ajarian ruler Aslan Abashidze and to reunite Ajaria with Georgia.

On February 3, 2005, Prime Minister Zurab Schwania died of gas poisoning from carbon monoxide . Although the police, prosecutors and the FBI spoke of an accidental death, relatives doubted this version and claimed to have evidence.

Peace in the secessionist areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia , controlled by Russian and UN peacekeeping forces, remained fragile. There were several military confrontations. On September 22, 2004, President Saakashvili presented a three-stage plan to the UN General Assembly for the settlement of regional conflicts. Relations with Russia remained problematic because strong groups in Moscow continued to regard Georgia as a vassal state. Russian leverage is to support the secessionist governments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Georgia remained a very poor country by European standards. Investments are difficult to attract into the country. The Georgian government has committed itself to economic reforms to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and is counting on the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and the revitalization of the old Silk Road as a Eurasian corridor. Georgia is to become a bridge for the transit of goods between Europe and Asia . Saakashvili has announced plans to reorganize state finances and increase wages and pensions. He also introduced a new flag (whose medieval Christian symbolism is intended to emphasize the Orthodox faith as the basis of Georgian identity) and a hymn .

On 6 August 2007, there was, according to the Georgian side to an alleged air incident by a Russian fighter jet of the type Su-34 . The machine is said to have penetrated Georgian airspace and fired an air-to-surface missile near the town of Zitelubani, 65 km north of the capital Tbilisi. The missile struck, however, without the warhead exploding. According to Georgian sources, the missile's target was the radar station near the city of Gori . According to experts from the USA, Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania who examined the rocket debris, it was a component of the Russian anti-radar missile Ch-58 (NATO code name AS-11 Kilter), which the Georgian Air Force could not have used with its aircraft. However, this is denied by Russian experts. Due to the incident, Georgia requested a meeting of the UN Security Council, but this never took place due to a lack of evidence.

On the night of November 8, 2007, after several days of mass demonstrations by the opposition , President Saakashvili declared the country a state of emergency for 15 days . The order was a reaction to an attempted coup, said Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli . At the same time, the Georgian government accused Russian agents of stirring up the unrest. The protests of the government opponents are directed against what they consider to be the authoritarian style of government of the president. They also accuse Saakashvili, the leader of the reform movement in 2003, of instrumentalizing the judiciary and widening the gap between rich and poor. On the afternoon of the same day, President Saakashvili announced that he would like to hold the required new elections on January 5, 2008. It was unclear who would win the election, as the twelve opposition parties were divided but were negotiating a common candidate at the time. After the early election date was announced, the protest rallies were discontinued. In the absence of the opposition parties, parliament confirmed the state of emergency on November 7th, so that it could be maintained until November 22nd.

On November 16, 2007, the previous Prime Minister Noghaideli was released from his duties. Banker Lado Gurgenidze became the new premier . He was confirmed in office by Parliament on November 22nd. President Saakashvili resigned on November 25 to clear the way for new presidential elections.

Mikheil Saakashvili, 2008

On January 9, 2008, Mikheil Saakashvili's renewed election victory was confirmed with a majority of 52.21%, so that he returned to his office. There was again talk of electoral fraud in Georgia. While the official version justifies the lengthy, four-day counting process with technical problems and a strong onset of winter, opposition leader Levan Gatchetschiladze spoke of fraud. The parliamentary elections on May 21 also resulted in a victory for President Saakashvili's United National Movement , which officially received 59.2% of the vote. His opponents spoke again of electoral fraud . At the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008, the heads of state and government of the alliance promised that the country would join NATO in a referendum on January 5, 2008 with 72.5% made dependent on an end to the territorial tensions around South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the initiative of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy .

In August 2008, military clashes broke out in the 2008 Caucasus conflict, initially with South Ossetian separatists and then with Russia. Russian armed forces penetrated Georgian territory as far as the cities of Gori and Poti , destroyed air force and naval bases and interrupted the main arteries. Following the conflict, Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia wanted to include the two areas in the Eurasian Union from 2014 . This would require Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia to recognize the independence of these areas as well, which would bring them into an open confrontation with Georgia. "That is why Moscow has now hatched the plan to" integrate "the two areas more closely," said Dawit Ussupashvili (in October 2014) , "a further step towards definitive annexation for Georgia.

Sources and research history

Ancient inscriptions

Some ancient inscriptions are known from Georgia, including one of the Emperor Vespasian , which comes from Iberia, a Greek / Aramaic bilingual from Mzechta-Armasischewi, a Greek one from Aurelius Acholis from Mtskheta , and a Jewish one from Mtskheta, originating in the 4th and 5th centuries , as well as two other Greek inscriptions, one from Eschera , another from Vani.

Research history

In ancient times it was often assumed that the inhabitants of Georgia immigrated from Spain (Iberia). Flavius ​​Josephus equates the Iberians with the descendants of the biblical Tubal .

The Georgians are derived from the medieval Kartlis Zchowreba from the late 11th century from Kartlos, the son of Targamos ( Togarma ). According to the Mokzewai Kartlisai chronicle , which was written in the 10th century, they immigrated from Arian Kartli at the time of Alexander . Melikishvili wants to equate Arian Kartli with Persia.

In the 19th century one wanted to derive the Georgians from the biblical Meschech and Tubal .


Pyotr Ivanovich Bagration

Georgians or people of Georgian descent who have been of preeminent importance in history:

See also


  • Philipp Ammon: Georgia between statehood and Russian occupation. The roots of the conflict from the 18th century to 1924 , new edition with an afterword by Uwe Halbach. Klostermann, Frankfurt 2019, ISBN 978-3-465-04407-9
  • Nicholas Awde (Ed.): Georgia: A short history . Benett & Bloom, London 2004, ISBN 1-898948-61-5 .
  • David Braund: Georgia in antiquity. A history of Colchis and Transcaucasian Iberia 550 BC – AD 562. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1994.
  • Matthias Dornfeldt, Enrico Seewald: Germany and Georgia. The history of official relationships , be.bra Verlag, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-95410-233-4
  • Heinz Fähnrich: History of Georgia from the beginnings to Mongol rule . Shaker, Aachen 1993, ISBN 3-86111-683-9 .
  • Heinz Fähnrich: History of Georgia . Brill, Leiden 2010, ISBN 978-90-04-18601-9 .
  • Jürgen Gerber: Georgia: National opposition and communist rule since 1956. Nomos-Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden 1997, ISBN 3-7890-4763-5 .
  • Nodar Lomouri: A History of Georgia. Sarangi Publishers, Tbilisi 1993.
  • Otar Lordkipanidze: Archeology in Georgia. From the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. Sources and research on prehistoric and Roman provincial archeology. VCH, Weinheim 1991, ISBN 3-527-17531-8 .
  • Andrei Miron , Winfried Orthmann (Ed.): On the way to the golden fleece. Archaeological finds from Georgia. Theiss-Verlag, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-8062-1192-2 .
  • Gertrud Pätsch (Ed.): The life of Kartlis. A chronicle from Georgia. 300-1200. Dietrich, Leipzig 1985.
  • Rierre Razoux: Histoire de la Géorgie. La clé du Caucase . Perrin, Paris 2009, ISBN 978-2-262-02645-5 .
  • Ronald Grigor Suny: The Making of the Georgian Nation . IB Tauris, London 1989, ISBN 1-85043-120-5 .
  • Jonathan Wheatley: Georgia from national awakening to Rose Revolution. Delayed transition in the former Soviet Union. Ashgate, Burlington, VT 2005, ISBN 0-7546-4503-7 .

Web links

Commons : History of Georgia  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f Fähnrich, 1993, p. 14ff.
  2.  ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) open-berlin.de@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.open-berlin.de
  3. Charles Burney: The mountain peoples of the Middle East. Essen 1975, 274
  4. Nikolas K. Gvosdev: Imperial policies and perspectives towards Georgia: 1760-1819 . Macmillan et al., Basingstoke et al. 2000, ISBN 0-312-22990-9 , p. 85.
  5. ^ David M. Lang: The last years of the Georgian Monarchy: 1658-1832 . Columbia University Press, New York 1957, p. 245.
  6. Zurab Avalov: Prisoedinenie Gruzii k Rossii . Montvid, S.-Peterburg 1906, p. 186.
  7. ^ David M. Lang: The last years of the Georgian Monarchy: 1658-1832 . Columbia University Press, New York 1957, pp. 247, pp. 255.
  8. ^ David M. Lang: The last years of the Georgian Monarchy: 1658-1832 . Columbia University Press, New York 1957, p. 252.
  9. ^ Luigi Villari: Fire and Sword in the Caucasus. TF Unwin, London 1906, p. 32 ( online version )
  10. Philipp Ammon: The Roots of the Georgian-Russian Conflict (1783–1832) (PDF; 483 kB)
  11. Lasha Bakradze: On Beria's Footsteps in Georgia
  12. 3,295,493 of 3,326,100 (Source: Nohlen et al.)
  13. ^ Corruption Perceptions Index 2004 . Transparency International.
  14. ^ Corruption Perceptions Index 2008 ( Memento of September 24, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). Transparency International.
  15. ^ A b Transparency International: Georgia 51st in 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index . Press release
  16. ^ Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 . Transparency International.
  17. Die Welt : State of emergency imposed across Georgia on November 8, 2007.
  18. Georgia's parliament approves a state of emergency - Tagesschau.de (tagesschau.de archive) on the situation in Georgia on November 9, 2007.
  19. Electoral Commission confirms Saakashvili's victory. In: The world. January 9, 2008.
  20. “Turn away from Russia” , BAZ, October 18, 2014.
  21. Otar Lordkipanidze: Archeology in Georgia, from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. (= Sources and research on prehistoric and Roman provincial archeology. Volume 5). VCH, Weinheim 1991, p. 13.
  22. a b Otar Lordkipanidze: Archeology in Georgia, from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. (= Sources and research on prehistoric and Roman provincial archeology. Volume 5). VCH, Weinheim 1991, p. 4.
  23. ^ Georgi A. Melikishvili 1965.